COVID-19: FG’s `POWERFUL HANDS’ team takes campaign to Jos Terminus market

The Federal Government’s POWERFUL HANDS campaign team on Friday visited the Terminus market in Jos metropolis  to educate the people on preventive measures against COVID-19.

The preventive measures have been simplified using the acronym HANDS, which according to the campaign team, means “Have your hands washed or sanitised frequently; Always cough or sneeze into your elbow; No going out without a face mask.

It also means distance of at least two arm’s length should be maintained and Stay indoors and self-isolate if you feel sick.

The campaign that was tagged: “POWERFUL HANDS” is a social behaviour change campaign implemented by the Centre for Communication and Social Impact (CCSI) with technical support from UNICEF, the Federal Government of Nigeria, in collaboration with United Nations in Nigeria and funding from the European Union (EU).

According to the Plateau State Campaign Consultant, Mrs Saadatu Yakubu, the campaign started in June 2021 in the state with a team comprising the NCDC coordinated State Risk Communication and Community Engagement officials, National Orientation Agency, Health Educators and Community Volunteers.

Yakubu said that the campaign had reached over 30,000 people with the social behaviour change message on COVID-19 through markets and neighbourhood activities.

She said a lot of those who received the message availed themselves for vaccination against COVID-19.

She also said that through their innovative school intervention programme which taught children preventive behaviours in a fun way, using a superhero character named Captain Bubbles, the campaign had been able to inculcate the desired social behaviour change pattern in children of between the ages of 6 and 10 in 21 different schools in Jos South and Jos North local government areas.

The campaign consultant said that the campaign had in the process of teaching the populace on the right way of hand washing, distributed 500 HANDS campaign branded tablets of soap.

She said the practice of the HANDS behavioural actions would help  to stop the spread of the virus and other diseases as well.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that most traders in the Terminus market were excited about the campaign as they listened keenly to the educators and asked questions about the COVID-19 virus.

One of them, Mr Bashiru Abubakar, a trader of second-hand clothing, said the campaign had made him realise the importance of wearing a face mask regularly as he attended to his customers, to help in preventing the spread of the virus.

Another trader, Aliyu Rabi’u, said that the campaign had given him a better understanding of why it was important to wear a face mask by himself and not only when forced to do so.

Rabi’u  said he would sensitise others on the importance of hand washing and wearing a face mask.

NAN reports that highlights of the campaign were sensitisation against the virus, the distribution of HANDS campaign branded tablets of soaps, hand fans and leaflets in English and Hausa languages.

NAN recalls that the campaign was launched in May with a goal to increase the number of Nigerians who believe in and practise COVID-19 preventive behaviours, especially as more deadly variants of the coronavirus were emerging.

The community mobilisation aspect of the campaign is currently being carried out in seven hotspot locations -Rivers, Oyo, Lagos, Kaduna, Kano, Plateau and the FCT. (NAN)